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International Toasts

africa asia australia / pacific caribbean east europe
west europe middle east central america north america south america

African Toasts

Toasts are not appropriate in Muslim societies.

Alcohol is prohibited, and you should never request it.

If you wish to honor those present, say something such as, "We would like to extend our best wishes to …"

Egyptian Toasts

Toasts are not common.

South African Toasts

For a toast, South Africans raise their glasses and say "Cheers!" On less formal occasions, they sometimes clink their glasses together and say "Chin Chin."

Asian Toasts

Chinese Toasts

The host will make the first toast. If it is to you, then you should respond with a toast to your host. Toasting will continue throughout the meal. Touching the other person's glass below the rim is a sign of respect. After the first toast and touching of the glasses, glasses are tapped on the table for the following toasts. Typical toasts are "gan bei" (bottoms up) and "kai pay" (drain your glass).

Toasting, usually with beer, wine or Chinese white liquors, is an important part of Chinese business etiquette.

You will often find three glasses on your table: a glass for your drink of choice [toast with this glass], a wine glass, and a shot glass for a liquor called 'maotai' or 'wu liang ye.'

The host of a banquet offers the first toast. If you prefer not to drink alcohol, it's perfectly acceptable to toast with a soft drink, glass of juice, or mineral water.

Toasts will be proposed throughout the meal. Two popular toasts are 'ganbei' ['bottoms up!'] and 'kai wei' ['starting the appetite!'].

Sometimes, the Chinese enjoy testing the ability of a foreigner ['lou wai'] to handle his or her alcohol, especially 'er gua toe', a potent clear alcohol that one might compare to airline fuel. A good practice would be to eat something beforehand.

Filipino Toasts

A more formal toast would include the traditional "Mabuhay!"—which means "Long life!"

Indian Toasts

Toasting is not a normal custom in India. However, in business meals where drinks are served, it is normal for the host to toast by raising the glass and saying 'cheers.'

Indonesian Toasts

Since 90% of Indonesians are Muslims, alcohol will not be served. If your host happens to be Indonesian of Chinese heritage and not Muslim, alcohol may be served. There is no tradition for toasting with alcohol.

Japanese Toasts

Typically, toasts are only made at the beginning and end of Japanese parties or drinking and dining sessions, usually by the Japanese host. Foreigners shouldn't feel that they must make a toast in return.

On the first drinks, someone will perform a toast, or simply say 'cheers,' which would be 'kampai' in Japanese. Generally the most senior person on the hosting side would have the honors.

Malaysian Toasts

The only times toasts might be given is when you are with Chinese or Indian hosts. The term "Yam Sing" is often used when everyone drinks at the same time.

Singapore Toasts

The most common toast is a simple "Cheers." A common Chinese toast that you might want to learn and use is "Yum seng!" which literally means "Finish drinking!" (Equivalent to the North American toast "Bottoms up!) There is no set protocol observed for making a toast.

South Korean Toasts

The most common toast is "gonbae," which is the equivalent of "cheers!" If the toast is proposed as "wonshot" (one shot), guests are expected to empty their glasses in one drink. Formal toasts are usually made only by the host. Visitors may offer to pay for the bill, but the host will usually decline the offer.

The most common South Korean toast you will hear is 'Gun-bae.' When you raise your glass, be sure to do so with your right hand. To confer extra respect toward the person being toasted, support your right arm with your left hand. Be aware that the minute you drain your glass, it is a cue to your host that you would like a 'refill.'

Taiwanese Toasts

Toasts are usually made toward an individual. As a visitor, you are likely to be toasted by every person at the table. The toast is to welcome you. Hold the glass in your right hand and place your left hand under it. Hold the glass up to toast and then hold it up again after drinking the toast.

Thai Toasts

A popular toast is simply 'Good Luck!' or in Thai 'Chai Yo!'

Vietnamese Toasts

The occasion may begin with a toast of wine or champagne and will conclude with tea or coffee.

A typical toast would be "To your health!" It is always best to allow the Vietnamese host to make the toast. It is most appropriate to suggest that the highest-ranking Vietnamese at the table make the toast, even if the foreign visitor is the host of the evening.

Australian and the Pacific Toasts

Australian Toasts

If you are toasted, return the favor. In Australia, 'Cheers!' is a popular toast.

New Zealand Toasts

Toasts are informal. People are likely to wish each other good health, to toast to a good business meeting or to imply that the All Blacks (the national rugby team) will win at their next outing.

Caribbean Toasts

Dominican Toasts

"Salud," which means "health," is a common toast.

Puerto Rican Toasts

It is not uncommon for hosts to offer a toast for the visitor at the first and the last meals that they share. In these cases, the visitor should smile graciously and stand with the others if they do so after the toast.

Eastern European Toasts

Belarusian Toasts

It is gracious to learn a few toasts. The most common are na zdo ro vie (to your health) and an ancient Polish toast, sto-lyat (a hundred years)

Czech Toasts

The most common toast is "Na zdravi!" which means "to your health," upon which each person clicks glasses with everyone at the table. Make eye contact with each person you click glasses with, or you will be considered rude.

In Slovak, the toast is - "Na zdravie!"

Hungarian Toasts

When dining, the man should pour the wine, as it is considered unfeminine for a woman to pour wine. When toasting in Hungary, make eye contact, raise your glass up to eye level, say “Egészségére!” (for your health), take a drink, make eye contact again, and then place the glass back down on the table.

The guest of honor usually proposes the first toast which generally salutes the health of the individuals present.

At the end of the meal, someone toasts the hosts in appreciation of their hospitality.

An empty glass is immediately refilled so if you do not want more to drink, leave your glass ½ full.

Never clink glasses if drinking beer.

Polish Toasts

Expect frequent toasting throughout the meal. The host offers the first toast.

Do not begin drinking until your host has proposed a toast to everyone at the table.

If your host stands when proposing a toast, so should you.

Toasts are only made with hard liquor (generally vodka).

You should reciprocate with your own toast later in the meal.

If you propose a toast it is important to maintain eye contact.

You may also toast your hosts or the success of the business venture.

The most common toast being "Na zdrowia!" (pronounced nah ZDRO-vee-ah, meaning "To your health!").

Alcohol is served in small glasses so you can swallow in one gulp.

Russian Toasts

Begin eating only after somebody says a toast, even if there is no alcohol on the table [which is almost impossible]. Toasting is a very important part of dining.

Toasts are common The host starts and guests reply. Do not drink until the first toast is offered.

After a toast, many Russians like to clink their glasses together. Do not do so if you are drinking something non-alcoholic.

Not drinking is a serious handicap to doing business in Russia. It's the way things are done. In all but the most Westernized circles, you will have trouble winning trust if you do not get drunk with your hosts. It's considered a way of breaking down barriers and getting to know the real you. Refusing to drink is unacceptable unless you give a plausible excuse, such as explaining that health or religious reasons prevent you from imbibing. Also you may smile and pretend that you are drinking, to show that you accept the toast and respect those around you.

If you feel that you're getting intoxicated, avoid signing anything.

Ukrainian Toasts

The Ukrainian meal is punctuated with frequent toasts. Everyone at the table will be expected to propose at least one toast during the meal. The host always will make the first toast, usually to everyone's health (bud-mo!). The second toast is usually to welcome the guest or guests of honor, at which point, the third toast is given by the guest. Appropriate toasts include: za vas! (here's to you) and za-ho-spo-da-riv! (here's to our hosts).

Don’t clink glasses during a toast if you aren't drinking alcohol.

European Toasts

Austrian Toasts

Traditionally, the host of the meal or event will initiate proceedings with a toast. Until then, no one should raise a glass. The host will lift his or her glass while making eye contact with the most senior guest and say Prost! The guest of honor should reply with a toast of thanks at the end of the meal or event.

Belgian Toasts

Wait to see if your host offers a toast before sipping your drink.

The guest of honor may also give a toast.

Women may offer a toast.

It is polite to stand for a toast.

The Flemish raise their glasses twice during a toast. The glass is initially raised during the toast and then at the completion of the toast.

Raising your glass and saying "Sante" is the typical toast. A toast is always made to the host or to the one who buys the drinks.

Dutch Toasts

The host gives the first toast. An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.

The Dutch word for "cheers" is proost (rhymes with boast). Quite often in small gatherings where people actually clink their glasses, it's appropriate to look people in the eye when you clink, but this is not always necessary. Proost! is not so much for wine, but more for beer and soft drinks. For wine, people may say the French Santé or nothing at all, since a friendly exchange of glances with all present while slightly raising the glass in their direction is more important. The toast may then be repeated after the company takes the first sip.

Finnish Toasts

The host will usually propose a toast to the visitors and to the business relationship. This should be reciprocated with a toast led by the leader of the visiting group. After that, there is no particular protocol, although speeches might be made and further toasts offered.

French Toasts

"A vote santé" (to your health) or the shorter "Santé!" or "Tchin" (cheers) are standard toasts. Glasses are generally raised as the toast is made and are sometimes clinked together before the first sip is taken.

German Toasts

The host gives the first toast. An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal

The most common toast with wine is 'Zum Wohl!' ('good health').

The most common toast with beer is 'Prost!' ('good health').

You should always touch all the glasses you can reach at your table when someone makes a toast.

When making a toast, it is important to maintain direct eye contact from the time the glass is raised, until it is placed back on the table. If many people are being toasted, make eye contact with each individual around the table as you make the toast. This rule becomes even more important to remember as you move west to east through Germany.

Greek Toasts

The host gives the first toast.

An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.

The most common toast is "to your health", which is "stinygiasou" in informal situations and "eis igían sas" at formal functions.

The typical toast in Greece is "ya mas" meaning "to our health." You may also make a toast to your hosts, as well as to a successful business relationship.

Irish Toasts

Toasts are usually reserved for occasions among family or friends, such as weddings and birthdays, but it is not uncommon to make an informal toast at a business meal. If you make a toast, keep it short.

Italian Toasts

The host gives the first toast.

An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.

Women may offer a toast.

“Salute” [to your health] is a common toast, or, more informally, “cin-cin.”

Norwegian Toasts

The host makes a small speech and offers the first toast.

It is not expected but would be appreciated if you toasted your host, especially if you are invited to a private home.

You will generally find that during a dinner party there might be many toasts throughout the evening. At a large dinner party, speeches will take place throughout the evening.

People usually stand to make toasts. On such occasions, the person seated to the left of the host will make a takk for maten (thank you for the food) speech. If you find yourself seated to the left of the host in this situation, it is unlikely that they will expect you to know that you should make a toast to thank them for the food.

Business dinners might not include constant toasting.

The Norwegian word for cheers is skol. For a formal toast, look into the eyes of the person being toasted and give a slight nod, then sal Skal. Before putting your glass down, meet the other person's eyes and nod.

Women may offer toasts.

Toasts are made with alcoholic beverages, but not beer.

When someone is being toasted, raise your glass, look at the person, take a sip, look at the person again, and then return the glass to the table.

Women must put down their glasses first after a toast.

Portuguese Toasts

Portuguese people will often toast to health, "Saude!" (pronounced sah-ood), or will merely say "Tchin tchin," an onomatopoeic toast replicating the sound of glasses clinking.

Spanish Toasts

The host gives the first toast.

An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.

A typical toast would be "Salud," which means "Good health!"

It is acceptable for a woman to make a toast.

Swedish Toasts

The most common toast is ' skål', pronounced 'skoal.' Do not consume your drink until the host or hostess has said ' skål '; only then, should you take your glass and raise it.

Always wait for the host to say 'welcome' before you can start sipping your wine. The welcome toast will always be said with the wine and not with the aperitif. Wait for the host or hostess to make the first toast; after that, you can propose one.

Maintain direct eye contact from the moment the glass is raised to the moment it is placed back down on the table. If many people are being toasted, make eye contact with each individual as you make the toast. Do not begin eating until the host has proceeded to do so.

Allow hosts and seniors in rank and age to toast first.

After making a toast, the men wait for the women to put their glasses down first. Do this immediately. It can be annoying for men to wait too long for women to put their glasses down.

Swiss Toasts

When proposing a toast, wait until everyone has been served a drink (whether it is wine or mineral water) and then say, "Prost" (cheers, in German).

The toast in German-speaking Switzerland is prost; in French-speaking Switzerland, it is votre santé or simply santé; in Italian-speaking Switzerland, salute. After your host has proposed a toast, look directly at him or her and respond, preferably in the local language. Then, clink glasses with everyone at the table, or at least those within your reach. Only then may you take your first sip.

Middle Eastern Toasts

Toasts are not appropriate in a Muslim society. Alcohol is prohibited, and you should never request it.

Israeli Toasts

The toast "lechaim" (to life) is said whenever alcohol is served. Toasts are only made at formal occasions or sometimes when a contract is signed.

It is acceptable to just touch the glass to your lips if you don't wish to swallow the contents.

Pakistani Toasts

There are no toasts in Pakistan.

UAE Toasts

Simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying "Cheers." At more formal gatherings, glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is elicited.

Central American Toasts

Columbian Toasts

Allow the host to be the first to make the toast; then you might wish to make one.

Costa Rican Toasts

Toasts are made more often than not. Ticos make toasts to their families mostly, for it is the core of their daily lives.

Salvadoran Toasts

When proposing a toast, people just raise the glass and say, "Salud!"

You should always offer your own toast and should say something to the effect that you are pleased to be in El Salvador after hearing so much about it. Then commend the people for treating you in such a family-like manner.

At the beginning of a meal, someone says "Buen provecho!" (Enjoy your food!). This is the most common social toast, and while not said as a toast in the strictest sense of the word, it's a must for anyone eating with Salvadorans.

Guatemalan Toasts

The standard toast is to raise your glass and say, "Salud!"

You should always offer your own toast: say how pleased you are to be in Guatemala and commend everyone for treating you in such a family-like manner.

Panamanian Toasts

Panamanians sometimes say "Salud!" (health) before a drink. Otherwise there are no typical toasts or specific protocols to follow when making toasts.

North American Toasts

American Toasts

The guest of honor is toasted and should reciprocate by giving a toast of thanks.

Simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying "Cheers." At more formal gatherings, glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is elicited.

Canadian Toasts

Simple, informal toasts involve raising a glass and saying "Cheers." At more formal gatherings, glasses are raised in response to a speech, and a group response is elicited.

The host normally offers first toast. Wait until everyone is served wine and a toast is proposed before drinking. it is acceptable for women to propose a toast.

In formal situations, the host gives the first toast. An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal. Women may give toasts.

If you are invited out to a pub in Canada, please keep in mind that each person is expected to pay for a round of drinks. Neglecting your turn to pay for a round will create a bad impression.

Mexican Toasts

Only men give toasts.

The common toast is Salud! (for health). The most senior host or visitor usually initiates a toast.

South American Toasts

Argentinean Toasts

If you are toasted, return the favor. In Argentina, 'Salud!' or 'Cheers!' are popular toasts.

Bolivian Toasts

Wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink.

The host makes the first toast.

The most common toast is "Salud!"

When you lift your glass, look at the person being toasted.

Chilean Toasts

Wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink.

The host makes the first toast.

The most common toast is "Salud!"

When you lift your glass, look at the person being toasted.

If you are toasted, return the favor. In Chile, 'Salud!' or 'Cheers!' are popular toasts.

Before taking the first sip of a drink, you say "salud," which means "to your health," and be sure to look your host in the eyes. If a formal business proposal is being discussed, a toast is made to the success of the future deal, contract or agreement or to the person or company involved.

Ecuadorian Toasts

Toasts in Ecuador are usually impromptu.

The person making the toast stands when proposing the toast and remains standing until all present have had a taste of wine.

If the toast is directed to a visitor, the visitor will be expected to reciprocate.

Peruvian Toasts

Peruvians say "salud" for a toast, and everyone lifts their glasses and drinks the first sip at the same time. It is rude for a visitor to start drinking alone (for the first drink). Once a business deal has been achieved, the host may make a more formal toast. The guest may respond with a brief speech or may simply smile and thank the host.

Venezuelan Toasts

Wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink. Venezuelans typically toast with the word 'salud'.

The host makes the first toast.

Toasts are common in Venezuela, and it is not unusual for a host to offer a toast in honor of a visitor. A toast of this kind should be acknowledged with a smile and a cheerful attitude. A visitor should be careful not to drink before the toast or while the toast is being offered, as this may be considered insulting.


- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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